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PNP files obstruction of justice case vs Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc

Because the Socorro Bayanihan Services Incorporated had previously prevented police officers from entering the SBSI's community in Surigao del Norte's Socorro town to serve an arrest warrant, the Philippine National Police filed an obstruction of justice complaint against the SBSI.

"Yung nangyaring pagse-serve namin ng warrant of arrest, hindi nila pinapasok yung ating police," said Caraga Police Regional Director Police Brigadier General Kirby Kraft in Marisol Abdurahman's Monday 24 Oras report. "With that nag-file tayo ng kaso sa kanila na obstruction of justice."

(When we tried to serve an arrest warrant, they wouldn't let our police officers through. With that, we filed an obstruction of justice case.)

However, the SBSI has since changed its behavior and now receives visits by high-ranking officials of the Caraga police.

The group also promised to no longer prevent police officers from entering their community and carrying out their legal duties.

Thus, the PNP entered Sitio Kapihan on Sunday and delivered a Senate invitation for the SBSI leadership to attend a hearing on allegations against the group.

The PNP also surveyed the 300-hectare community and inspected several noteworthy features, such as a port which allegedly was a dropping-off point for drugs and weapons.

"Isa na rin namin na ma-observe 'yung totoo, 'yung mga allegation na dito dumadaan 'yung mga alleged shabu at saka armas," said Surigao del Norte Police Director Colonel Laudemer Laude. "At least nakita natin 'yung tinatawag nilang back door."

(One of things we wanted to verify was the allegations that weapons and shabu came through here. At least, we've seen what was said to be a backdoor.)

Police also inspected an area were SBSI members allegedly received weapons training.

"Nakita po natin na yung mga baril, mga replika lang po," added Laude.  "Kahoy lang talaga yun."

(We've seen the guns. They're just replicas. They're made of wood.)

Meanwhile, Socorro Mayor Riza Timcang was worried by SBSI members' emotional protest last Sunday and by the fears of the surrounding communities.

"Minsan kinakabahan sila (yung mga katabing komunidad) kasi may oras na nakita silang grupo na bumaba na... Ang sabi nila nakita nila yung sundang... mga itak," said Timcang.

(The surrounding communities are worried sometimes, because there were occasions when they see groups from the SBSI coming down with machetes.)

Given the situation, the PNP deployed more police officers in the locality and placed checkpoints in critical areas.

"Dinirect ko na ang ating provincial director, pati yung ating provincial mobile force company commander, na magdadagdag talaga kami ng tao rito," said Kraft.

(I ordered our provincial director and our provincial mobile force company commander to assign more men here.)

"Ang trabaho natin dito is to maintain peace and order."

(Our job here is to maintain peace and order.) — DVM, GMA Integrated News